Will Windows Deliver with Version 8.1?

David Jeppson

October 10, 2013

When Microsoft shipped Windows 8, many users were disappointed, some even furious, with the way that the operating system seemed to try and force a modern tablet style user interface on to a PC. One of the major complaints with this one-size-fits-all operating system, among many, was the way that Windows 8 booted straight into a Start screen and not into the desktop environment that so many die-hard PC users were so used to. Many of the features are fine if you’re using a tablet or other touch enabled device, but very confusing and disjointed on a PC.

When it comes to how poorly customers have adopted Windows 8, the numbers say it all.

Windows 8 is not having the success that it hoped for. The fact that Microsoft is releasing version 8.1 is basically an admission of guilt that, yes there were some major flaws, and 8.1 seeks to remedy those issues.

So what will Windows 8.1 feature that will make Widows a desirable operating system once again? Here is a list of some of the features that have been promised:

  • Ability to boot to the desktop.
  • Lockscreen will be able to show a slideshow of user pictures stored both locally and on Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud-based storage.
  • Much easier to transition from traditional to modern UI environments.
  • The modern Start screen will have more color and background options including backgrounds with animation and even a setting to use the desktop wallpaper as the background.
  • More comprehensive settings menu, which will put less dependence on users accessing the older control panel.
  • The tiles and organization on the Start screen will be more customizable including a larger and a smaller tile size option.

Nothing groundbreaking, mostly just a list of fixes based on major customer complaints. Microsoft seems to be attempting to make everyone happy, which is approaching impossible in today’s tech world, but I give them credit for trying to innovate and move forward while juggling the demand for the comfortable and familiar, not an easy task.

Windows 8.1 will be offered free for those that currently have an installation of version 8. If you have Windows 7, you can upgrade to 8.1 for $120, and it will be offered by itself for $199. The upgrade will be available for download on October 17th and will begin shipping on new machines on October 18th.